NEW YORK -- American Express Co. filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday against MasterCard International, charging unfair advertising practices.
As a result, the card association was forced to cancel a television commercial that promotes the cash advance features of MasterCard credit cards.
The ad, which began running in September, features an American Express cardholder fruitlessly searching for an automated teller machine that will accept his card. While he searches, he encounters a slew of MasterCard cardholders completing cash advance transactions.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted American Express a temporary restraining order that forced the commercial off the airwaves at least until next Wednesday.
A hearing on American Express' request for a preliminary injunction blocking the ad is scheduled for that date.
"We believe our advertising is competitive but fair," said Richard Woods, a spokesman for New York-based MasterCard. "We will defend it vigorously and are confident that we will prevail."